Pastor, BA 1961
Daniel John Yeary was born December 28, 1938, in Miami, Oklahoma. The family moved to Abilene in 1950, and in 1953, settled in Cleburne, Texas, where Dan graduated from high school in 1957. While at Cleburne High School, Dan earned nine varsity sports letters, was active in student government, and was Key Club president. He was selected in 1956 as governor of Texas Boys’ State and as a Boys Nation senator.
With a desire to pursue the ministry, and an invitation from HSU Coach Sammy Baugh to play football, Dan came to Hardin-Simmons in 1957. At HSU, Dan lettered in football, was president of the Baptist Student Union and Student Government, sang in A Capella Choir, and served as a BSU Summer Missionary to Hawaii in 1959.
A knee injury in his second year ended Dan’s football career, but did not hamper his path to the ministry. While continuing his studies at HSU, he served as assistant pastor and minister to youth at Colonial Hill Baptist Church in Snyder from 1958 to 1959 and as assistant pastor and youth director at Southside Baptist Church in Abilene from 1959 to 1961. Before graduating from HSU with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Bible, Dan married fellow HSU student Melinda Millican.
The young couple started their ministry at Sagamore Hill Baptist Church in Fort Worth, while Dan completed his Master of Religious Education degree at Southwestern Seminary from 1961 to 1965. In 1963, Dan served in student ministry and revival preaching in the Japan New Life Crusade, and also that year, received the J. M. Price Scholarship Award as the most outstanding student in the school of religious education. Dan and Melinda’s first two children were born during his time at seminary, and after graduation in 1965, the young family moved to Kentucky where Dan was an associate in the Baptist Student Department of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.
In 1967, Dan accepted a position as university minister at First Baptist Church in Lubbock, Texas, where the resident student membership grew from less than two hundred to almost two thousand under his leadership. In 1972, the completed family, having added a third child, moved to Houston where Dan became associate pastor of South Main Baptist Church, ministering to students and single adults and assisting the pastor in the preaching ministry. Dan developed a singles program at South Main that won Guidepost magazine’s Church of the Year Award in 1987.
In 1975, Dan assumed the pastorate of University Baptist Church in the Miami, Florida, suburb of Coral Gables. He continued his definitive singles program there, helping single adults find hope-filled lives in Christ. The program offered pragmatic courses such as auto mechanics for single women, cooking for bachelors, and counseling for what he termed “handling the grief process of divorce which is very much like death.”
After 18 years at Coral Gables, having added more than three thousand members to the congregation there, Dan accepted the call in 1993 to pastor North Phoenix Baptist Church in Phoenix, Arizona. Dan has led North Phoenix, one of the nation’s largest congregations, with strong programs designed to develop the faith and effectiveness of the Christian. Dan preaches love and forgiveness with the tender strength Jesus intended. He does not flinch in his message that in all things Christians are to be an example to others of who Jesus Christ is and are to take the Word of God seriously.
Dan has been a sought-out speaker across the nation, and in 2008 led the benediction at the Republican National Convention. Active in the communities in which he has lived, Dan coached Pop Warner Football and Little League baseball for fourteen years. Dan was listed in Outstanding Young Men in America in 1970 and 1974, and in Who’s Who in Religion in the South in 1980-81. He received from the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce the outstanding Citizen Award in 1980 and the Stetson University Florida Minister of the Year Award in 1990. He was the National Alumni president for Southwestern Baptist Seminary in 1987 and was among the first members of the Hardin-Simmons University Young Associates board which was established in 1964. In 1996, HSU awarded Dan an Honorary Doctor of Divinity degree, and in 2003, he received the HSU Distinguished Alumni Award. Dan has been a frequent speaker on university campuses, including HSU’s Cornerstone Series in 1982, 1992, and 200X.
Dan has written two books, Make Up Your Mind published in 1990, and Direct Access: The Doctrine of the Priesthood of the Believer published in 1988. Dan has also collaborated on other books and written for Homelife Magazine.
He and Melinda have three children, Wes, Melissa, and Doak; and four grandchildren.
Dan Yeary, who hastens Believers to be examples of Christ, stands solidly on the Rock he preaches as a true Christian example.
It is the high honor of Hardin-Simmons University to recognize one of her own and to formally induct Daniel John Yeary into the HSU Hall of Leaders.